01 January 2009

The Glorious and ever Blessed Mother of God

It is certain that if we look around on earth for a type and representation of the best and purest possible affection; if we look for love in its utmost intensity, in its most unselfish simplicity, in its sweetest tenderness, there at once arises to our minds that natural affection which binds the mother to her child. For that pledge of God's love she is ready to sacrifice herself, forgetting every consideration; not only will she sacrifice health and all the pleasures of life, but life itself, if necessary; and we cannot imagine a being more ready to give her existence for another than the mother who sees her child in danger and resolves at once to make herself an oblation for its safety. So remarkable is this affection, that God has beautifully chosen it as the representation of His own love for man. He could not give us any image more complete to show the tenderness of His love for us, than by comparing Himself, not to a father, but to a mother: "Can a mother forget the child of her womb? And even if she should forget it, yet will I not forget thee" (Isaiah 49:15).

This love of the mother, however beautiful, however natural, however commended, and again and again inculcated by the law of God, may become a dangerous affection, inasmuch as it may know no bounds, and possibly absorb all that divine love due to the Creator and Giver of all things. This danger is illustrative of the force and power of the mother's affection for the child.

To only one being on earth -- to only one of God's creatures has it ever been, or ever will be, granted that this love could not be misplaced -- could not become excessive. For, by virtue of the maternity of Mary, she was constituted the Mother of God; and there was no possible danger of her ever carrying the maternal affections, I will not say into excess, but even to the nearest approach of anything that was not pure and perfect, holy and most acceptable. The caresses she lavished upon her Child she lavished upon God. Exercising the right of the mother, she embraced her Child, and it was God she embraced. Every time she administered to Him the nourishment which His infancy was pleased to require, she was giving to the Incarnate God a part of herself, bestowing upon God a gift which no other being was entitled or permitted to confer. Taking the highest, the most pure and perfect standard of human love, she was privileged to exercise it toward her God, so that it was impossible by any effort of her virginal heart to love too much, for she was loving God with all the power of a mother's affection for her child, and was, at the same time, rendering the love which others could only direct to the creature, to her Creator.

Surely, then, my brethren, we have here, referable to the maternity of our dear and blessed Lady, all that constitutes at once, in this earthly love of the mother for her child and divine love of the creature for her God, saintliness in its highest possible perfection.

Her love is perfect, her conformity is rendered eternal and her cooperation with Jesus continual in that constant flow of her kindness to us, in that perpetual representing of our wants to her Divine Son, in her faithful intercession for us all, consistently with her singular prerogative as the Mother of God. Then, beloved brethren, cease not in your affection to her. Mind not more than you do the winds that fly past you, words which you may hear in disparagement of this most beautiful devotion, as if the worship of our Divine Lord suffered from devotion to her. Pray frequently in your necessities to her, in your wants, in your trials, personal or domestic, and feel sure that she will attend to your petitions. Be assured that link that bound Him to her on earth, and continues to unite Him to her in heaven, also binds us to her, so that in Jesus and Mary we have our confidence, our hope, and , in the end, eternal bliss.

~Excerpted from a homily given at Dublin Cathedral by Cardinal Nicholas Patrick Wiseman (1802-1865), first Archbishop of Westminster~